Information can land ‘bigger blow’ than weapons, Ukrainian President Zelensky tells Canadian students

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told university students across Canada via video link Wednesday that his country remains committed to democracy nearly four months after Russia invaded.

“We’ve already surprised the world,” Zelensky said. “We’ve come together to do the impossible and we shall prevail against all the odds for the free and democratic future.”

The University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy is hosting the event, which is focused on how Canadian universities can help Ukraine during the conflict. Zelensky took questions from students across Canada, touching on a variety of topics.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said people need to prepare for the war “to last for years.”

While Zelensky said he is grateful for international support, including weapons, he said information has proven a powerful weapon for Ukraine — particularly thanks to the internet and social media.

“We can cut distances between our countries and other countries, between the government and society,” he said. “For us, internet is a kind of weapon because we can show what’s going on.”

Showing the world the details — which cities have been conquered, how many victims there are, how many casualties — “means freedom,” Zelensky said.

“Information… sometimes can give a bigger blow than some types of weapons,” he said.

Students tuned in from the University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Université de Montréal, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Alberta, and University of Manitoba.

They’re also tuning in from across Ontario, including at Western University, Queen’s University, the University of Waterloo,and Wilfrid Laurier University. Students from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia are joining as well.

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